Police bust man for plunge into Ruedi – with Jeep | AspenTimes.com

Police bust man for plunge into Ruedi – with Jeep

Scott Condon
No IPTC Header found

A late-night plunge into Ruedi Reservoir was a poor idea for a 28-year-old Littleton man early Thursday morning.Alan Harris was arrested on multiple charges after police said the 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee he was driving landed in the reservoir. “He proceeded down the main boat ramp into Ruedi Reservoir,” said Capt. Rich Duran of the Colorado State Patrol.There were skid marks for about 300 feet on and around the ramp, indicating a high rate of speed, said a witness who saw the scene after the accident. Harris veered off the left side of the boat ramp, went airborne and landed in the water, the source said.Duran said it was unknown if Harris knew he was on the boat ramp or thought he was on a road. A dog was in the Jeep with him.

“They both got out of the vehicle safely,” Duran said.Basalt Fire and Rescue was paged to the scene at 12:22 a.m. with an initial call that one person was on the ramp but that there may have been other occupants of the submerged vehicle.”We found a very intoxicated male [when they arrived],” said Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson. The man changed his story by then and said he was alone in the vehicle with the dog.A rescue team had to assume there might be other victims based on the earlier story. “We had to consider him unreliable,” Thompson said. “He could barely stand.”

Steve Howard, a certified rescue diver and volunteer at the department, checked the vehicle and confirmed that no one was trapped inside. The vehicle settled about 40 feet from shore and 36 feet underwater, according to Thompson. It came to rest on its nose and windshield area.Howard and the fire department’s swiftwater rescue team also helped hook a cable from a tow truck to the Jeep so it could be pulled out of the popular boating and fishing reservoir.Howard’s wetsuit might have been ruined by the gas and other liquids that leaked into the water from the Jeep, so the department might have lost more than sleep in the operation, Thompson said.Harris was uninjured in the accident: “He was just wet and cold,” Thompson said.

Harris had the opportunity to warm up at the Eagle County Jail. The state patrol charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol; criminal mischief; possession of drug paraphernalia, no proof of insurance and careless driving.Harris was released from jail Thursday on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.The police report didn’t say if Harris was camping in the Fryingpan Valley at the time. Multiple campgrounds are located by the Ruedi Boat Ramp, including the Little Maud. It’s also unknown if he was with other people. The investigating officer was off-duty Thursday after working the Wednesday night shift.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com